Why am I, the what I am?

Friends in Christ,

I am a Catholic from a country whose major religious following is Theravada Buddhism.

I blv the gist of my question may have already been addressed in a more broader manner in some other thread as to the basic differences in the 2 religions. But I am seeking a more simplistic explanation, if one exist!

As my thread’s heading suggests, I am seeking an explanation in to the well founded and well exhibited (in real world) ‘HUMAN INEQUALITIES’ amongst us (be it health,wealth,mindfulness,sanity,piety etc etc)

In my understanding of this in a ‘very simplistic manner’ (yes, I understand that it is a broad subject)…

Catholic Philosophy says…

“It IS the God’s will. Thou shall accept it without any reservation just as the savior Jesus Christ accepted it. Have faith in the divinity of the Holy Trinity. Follow the teachings of the church as to the faith, prayer and works and thou shall gain salvation and eternal life in Jesus in the Holy Trinity”

The Buddhist philosophy…

“It is a broader cause-and-effect type situation. Best and simply explained by the five orders or processes (niyama) which operate in the physical and mental realms…Utu, Bija, Karma,Dhamma and Chitta. Understand it, accept it and be mindful that you are your own salvation. Follow the other precepts of the philosophy and thou shall find eternity and ultimate salvation in the detached and enlightened status of mind”

Simply put, for my secular mind, it looks that the cause and effect explanation in the Buddhist Philosophy gives a simpler straight fwd answer for the q of ‘human inequalities’ !!

This is NOT what I want you my friends to focus at.
But how should I refine my thoughts with the Catholic faith?

Should I not question the cause for this inequality but just accept it in faith?

Why is it if (irrespective of ones color, creed, faith etc) the whole mankind was CREATED in the IMAGE of God, we are made with inequalities?

Is it God’s punishment and my penance to pay for my sins in a ‘past life’ and this world is nothing but a branch of Hell for me? (if so that means I am a ‘re-birth’ to pay penance for my past life’s sins…Karma?)

If at least, as a Christian (in general) my PAST sins are forgiven once and for all at the Baptism as an infant, why was there were no miracle/s for at least to make me part of an ‘elite’ group without ‘suffering’?

If there is no common cause for it, why then the uncommon and different effects?

I can understand the COMMON salvation and ‘the eternal life’ in the refuge of Jesus in the Holy Trinity, but why the path so in-equal?

Is it really there is no cause for this effect?

Hope some of you will find time to answer my thoughts.

Thank you and May God Bless You !

I think there are social inequalities because humans are not perfect. If some people are greedy and take more, others will have less.

I don’t know if I would say this is God’s will, but a result of man’s sin.

Someone correct me if this is not proper church teaching…but I think we create these equalities ourselves.

In America, we believe all men are created equal by God. Inequalities come from our choices in life, and the way we all affect each other.

As for accepting it…yes we must accept that we are not perfect, as individuals or as a society. But we don’t have to accept injustice if we see it, and we can fight for what is right.

I’m not sure if this addresses all the parts of your question but I hope it helps!

Well, I knew some of you would get my point wrong.
To simplify my point in a bit sarcastic way…I am not worried about the man made inequalities, but the ‘GOD MADE’ inequalities, if you get what I mean!

I think all people are created equal by God.

It might be easier if I knew what kind of inequalities we are talking about. Social inequalities (like poor vs rich)? Physical inequalities (like tall vs short)? Mental inequalities? Talent inequalities?

Some people are better at different things, but we are all created with strengths and weaknesses. Someone may be better at me than basketball, but perhaps I am a better writer. Someone might have more business sense, but someone else might be very good with patience.

Some people are born with disabilities, and they seem like they are the least equal of all. I think they have a stronger spirit.

Like I said, I think God creates us all equal. Any inequalities that might seem to be the case between people or regions are because of man-made phenomenon OR we just aren’t seeing the whole picture.

That’s my view anyways! :slight_smile:

Edit: I’m sorry if I don’t know the official church teaching on this. I just felt drawn to share my perspective.

Hello Dfdo and Garyjohn2,

Of course as Catholics we understand that there is no incarnation and so it is not the case that in baptism I am forgiven for ‘my past sins’:

Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1013 Death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage, of the time of grace and mercy which God offers him so as to work out his earthly life in keeping with the divine plan, and to decide his ultimate destiny. When “the single course of our earthly life” is completed, we shall not return to other earthly lives: “It is appointed for men to die once.” There is no “reincarnation” after death.

Just putting that out there. :slight_smile:

There are those who are born in inabilities for the Glory of God:

1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Like the blind man who was cured at Lourdes.

I also think that there are people who suffer from illnesses and difficulties and these experiences are working test them and for their own salvation. We do not know the needs of every soul.

It’s like when the Virgin Mary said at Lourdes to Bernadette that not all will be cured. Why? Because it would not be good for their salvation.

I do not believe there are any simplistic answers on the human issue of inequality. We are born into this mortal world…and disease, pain, wealth, gain, loss, death and suffering are all part of what it means to be human. These “inequalities” are the “price” of mortality.

It is how we respond to such issues as a people…do we lift one another up…do we seek to help the down trodden…do we minister to the sick and afflicted…do we feed the hungry and visit the prisoner…it is through answering these issues that we find God.

Physical deformities, such as blindness, deafness, lameness, etc. I would posit are a part of God’s plan. That these people, through their adversity, may be lights to those around them, especially those who hold similar disabilities and lose faith because of it. The resistance to cochlear implants by many in the deaf community is testament to these things not necessarily being as bad as many would try and make them out to be.

Additionally, socio-economic inequalities are all man-made and not of God. God gave us the tools necessary to make an egalitarian society where we all care for one another and we have chosen to build a society of self-lust, greed, and pride. Buddhism makes a valid observation when the causes of suffering (outside of Karma and Dharma, which Catholics can NOT believe in) are addressed as the sources of inequality.

Your understanding of Catholic belief on the matter is ill-informed, but not entirely wrong. We must accept that these things happen, because to do otherwise would be idiocy. We cannot see the homeless on the street and say “homelessness does not exist.” We must accept socio-economic inequalities as reality. We do not have to accept them as permanent. The Catholic emphasis on charity–not just giving change to the poor, but buying them a sandwich, helping get them in contact with shelters and job-placement agencies, etc.–contradicts any type of submission to this reality that you imply in your original post. We say “Yes, this exists. But we made it exist. We can make it not exist.” Nowhere should we ever lay the blame of socio-economic or political inequality upon God. He made us all equal and intended us to live in paradise. We rejected Him and His paradise. Now, instead of trying to draw closer, we continually corrupt the world He has given us and manipulate and exploit each other to no end in order to “get ahead.”

The Buddhist notion of Karma-and I could be wrong in my limited understanding-flies in the face of remedying human inequalities.

Because what if what the person who is suffering through poverty-or whatever other “inequality” we are considering-is the result of Karma trying to teach that person a lesson?

By remedying the inequality wouldn’t we in fact prolonging that person’s suffering because he has not been taught his lesson enough?

It seems that Karma actually wold be more of a deterrent to relieving inequalities than an encouragement.

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